MARCH 30, 1948
EN ROUTE TO ENGLAND, Monday—So the story of Russian submarines off the American coast was not quite as serious as it first sounded! Are we perhaps getting a little too jittery? Any kind of a submarine, our own or a Russian sub, may have a curious resemblance to a whale. All that story really meant was that people are worried!
Before I sailed, I was bombarded with questions as to whether I was in agreement with the statements made by my sons Elliott and Franklin, Jr., backing Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower for the Democratic Presidential nomination. And so I think it best to state quite clearly that I am still working with the United Nations and, in that capacity, I work under President Truman and Secretary of State Marshall, and I cooperate with their policies. I am not dabbling in politics. I am not trying to do anything whatsoever in the way of party politics.
My sons, as a rule, tell me what they are going to do, but they are grown men and I decided long ago that once children were grown they must be allowed to lead their own lives. If they feel it right to take a stand of any kind, they must abide by the results of their own decisions. I do not interfere with them now that they are grown to man's estate.
They did not always agree with their father and, when they did not agree, they said so in no uncertain terms. He always preferred to leave them entirely free. And the most that I can expect or that I desire of them is to be told of their intentions as a matter of courtesy, but I do not expect or desire to control their consciences or their actions.
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One night last week, I went to see the musical comedy, "Finian's Rainbow," in New York. I found it exceptionally delightful. The lyrics by E. Y. Harburg are a joy. The lessons it teaches are subtly conveyed, and the touch of Irish mixed with Fort Knox, Kentucky, stretches the imagination. It is encouraging to see a cast act so well together and by their very acting convey a much-needed lesson—that differences can exist and still not interfere with a unified performance.
When I first looked at the program, I thought perhaps the story of the play was based on James Stephens' book, "The Crock of Gold," but there is no real resemblance except the fact that leprechauns and the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow seem to appear in all Irish stories. I asked the two young men who were with us if they had ever read "The Crock of Gold." They looked at me blankly and said they had never even heard of it.
It has been one of our favorite books for so long that I had not realized that a younger generation probably had not read it. I shall try to put it into the hands of these two young men the next time they come to Hyde Park. Good books are worth being handed down from generation to generation. And this book has much whimsy and wisdom combined.